Unfortunately, this was not the first straw, but rather, the very last in a string of increasingly irritating straws.
It all started the afternoon of the first day of school. My kids came home with long lists of supplies to be purchased. I outfitted them with binders and pens I had around the house and promised them I would complete their lists the following day, sparing them the hassle, and allowing me to shop in peace (oh, silly me). When I walked into Target the next day, to my complete surprise and horror, the school supply aisle had been been emptied. I was stunned. Everything was GONE! There were a couple of workers, packing up the display units, that informed me they had to clear out to make way for the Halloween items. HALLOWEEN?? It was September 3! Sure enough, back at Target not a week later, I encountered aisles of costumes, plastic pumpkins, and scary skeletons. Isn't Halloween still in October?
So that brings us to today. Naturally, like all good retail cycles, the Halloween merchandise is now deeply discounted. "Clearance", they are calling it. And next to the picked-over Halloween junk are these lovely Christmas cards. No wonder I am sick of Christmas by... well, Christmas!
Apparently, I must be a remedial shopper. I certainly wouldn't classify myself as one, as I love to be the first to know about new fun stuff. But I just can't keep up. I can barely plan for tomorrow, much less over a month from now. But maybe it isn't me. And if it ISN'T me that is way behind the curve, then what is it? Is it the retailers helping us out by forcing us to plan ahead? Or is it something darker, more nefarious?
Well, I pick B (of course... it's that paranoia rearing it's ugly head again). I can't help but think we are all blindly falling into a dangerous and soul-stripping pattern of purchase now, buy more, grab this steal, be one step ahead of the neighbors.
I know I sound preachy, and as I glance at the simple but elegant Christmas cards I went ahead and purchased (they're just so perfect), I realize I am throwing some awfully big stones in this glass house of mine. Maybe it isn't the end of the world, but shouldn't a gal be able to buy a protractor and some glue sticks on the second day of school? Can't we wait until December to see if we are even still speaking to our relatives before we spend money on them? We may not be able to buy as much, hoard as much, but maybe life will be calmer and simpler? Maybe we'll make better decisions. Maybe we'll actually think about the meaning of a holiday, rather than walking around in flip-flops and shorts, wondering if the cashmere scarf will match Grandma's coat.
Lesson here? I don't know... Maybe just that when you get your little gold envelope in the mail this holiday season (probably late), remember I've been thinking of you since September.